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Rankin Family History Project

William J. Drumtra


William J. Drumtra, P. M., a jeweler and watch maker of Altenburgh, Mo., was born in Saxony, Weimar, Germany, in 1859. When young he came with an uncle to the United States, and afterward served an apprenticeship at the watch maker's trade at Hazleton, Penn.

After finishing his trade he traveled with Capt. Reid, for Engel's Apostolic Clock, during which time he visitied most of the important Eastern cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Lancaster, New York, Wilmington, Buffalo, Louisville and many places of lesser importance.

On October 3, 1878, he established himself at Altenburgh, and commenced working at this trade, at which he has met with great success. Since then he has repaired 2,100 watches. He thoroughly understands his business, and has a large patronage in Perry and surrounding counties. Besides his work he does a large business in the jewelry line.

In 1880 he was united in marriage with Mary Miller, a native of Altenburgh, born in 1859, and to them have been born three children: Lydia, Theobald, and William. Mr. Drumtra and family are members of the Lutheran Church.

He is one of the substantial business men of this town, and although he began with small capital, now has a neat residence, store building, a large stock of goods, and 120 acres of land in Jackson County, Ill. For six years he has served his town as postmaster and treasurer, and is also the leader of the brass band.

Mr. Drumtra made and has in operation an electric alarm and call bell between his shop and residence, and claims those to be the first electric call bell worked by electricity in Perry County when first put in.

His parents, William and Margaret Drumtra, were also born in Saxony, Weimar, the former in 1834, and the latter in 1837. William Drumtra, Sr., is a carpenter by trade, and in 1871 brought his wife and the rest of his family to America. They are the parents of nine children, and now reside in Freeland, Penn.

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The Goodspeed Publishing Company compiled a series of histories of various counties in the U.S. in the late 19th century. The information in the History of Southeast Missouri, published in 1888, was provided by the contemporary residents of Perry County and her neighboring counties. The biographies are a valuable source of genealogical information, despite a few minor inaccuracies. We are glad to present the transcribed biographies here for anyone researching Perry County's history.

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